Starring Erin R. Ryan, Joanna Lloyd, Iabou Windimere
Directed by Henrique Couto
Anthology horror movies have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts over the past several years. Movies such as V/H/S, Trick ‘r Treat, and this year’s Tales of Halloween have reinvigorated the subgenre which is known for such classics as Creepshow and “Tales From the Crypt.” Anthology movies can often be categorized as “hit or miss” with some segments being far better than others. Scarewaves is a new anthology horror movie from director Henrique Couto. Unfortunately, this is one anthology film that is much more “miss” than “hit.”
The film’s wraparound follows late night radio host Amos Satan during his last night on air. He’s taking calls from listeners about scary stories, but he thinks all of their stories are crap. Amos tells us he has some really scary stories to tell. Sadly, they’re all even more boring and cliché-ridden than the ones told by the callers he bashes at the beginning of the movie. Throughout the film Amos receives calls from a menacing unknown listener, leading to a predictable ending to the wraparound. Let’s get to the segments…
Painting After Midnight: Satan’s first story involves a young girl who moves into an apartment with a strange artist. The artist brings young female models over and paints them, but it becomes obvious there is something sinister behind his art. It was obvious what the artist was doing in this segment and even more obvious how everything would turn out. It’s unfortunate that there wasn’t more build-up to the payoff in this one. Like the rest of the segments, this one really dragged on awkwardly.
Fair Scare: Two cousins rob an armored car. One of them seems to have a half-Cajun accent? They bring their loot to their home where one of the robbers’ wife is waiting. The woman berates her husband and later tries to seduce his cousin so they can take the money and run. Unfortunately for her, the family bond is strong, and she winds up dumped in the nearby river. If you’ve seen an episode of “Tales From the Crypt,” you will probably see where this one is going. Clear homages to Something to Tide You Over from Creepshow abound in this one, but once again, the segment is so unoriginal, poorly paced, and poorly acted it just puts you to sleep.
Office Case: This segment follows an old security guard during his first night on the job. He starts to hear and see things that appear to be related to his troublesome past. We learn from flashbacks that this old man was once a trigger-happy cop who seemed to enjoy his gun a bit too much. This story was honestly edited so awkwardly that it was more confusing than scary. Perhaps this was an attempt to blend reality and nightmare, but it just didn’t work. It reminded me a bit of Hellraiser: Inferno but so much worse.
Worth the Wait: The fourth and final story follows a young woman who is “the other woman” in her lover’s life. The two of them have been planning on killing his clingy girlfriend with a hammer. While she waits for news that the deed is done, she begins to see visions of the dead woman. This one ends with another twist any horror fan will see coming a mile away. Still, this was probably the best of the four segments, although that’s not saying much. The overacting had me thankful this was the last story.
The wraparound ends with a debt collector coming to collect from Amos Satan, but Amos has a (not so shocking) surprise for him.
This is a microbudget horror movie, so one might forgive some rough edges as long as the stories are entertaining enough to keep you engaged. So many movies have proven that a small budget can be overcome with great storytelling; unfortunately, the rough edges in Scarewaves are far too many. The acting and cinematography are severely underwhelming, and the stories are too boring and unoriginal to keep even hardcore genre fans entertained. I will say this movie does have great artwork. It has a very late-80s VHS cover feel to it, so it does have that going for it.
Unless you’re a glutton for bad B-movie horror, I’d encourage you to pass on Scarewaves and maybe just dust off your old copy of Creepshow.